Students Capture Honors, Savor Learning Opportunities

Shaopeng Liu, Ph.D. candidate and Research Assistant working with Dr. Robert Gao in the Electromechanical Systems Laboratory of the Mechanical Engineering department, has won the 2nd prize of the Philips Yong Investigator Award at the 2011 IEEE Engineering for Medicine and Biology Conference (EMBC), held in Boston in September, 2011. The award is based on the paper “SVM-Based Multi-Sensor Fusion for Free-Living Physical Activity Assessment,” co-authored by Liu, Gao, and collaborators from mathematics and kinesiology at the University of Massachusetts, presented during the conference.


Eleven undergraduate and graduate students from the Chemical, Materials & Biomolecular Engineering Department participated in the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) annual meeting in Minneapolis, MN last week, and five won honors for their poster presentations:

Leonela Villegas (advisor: Leslie Shor) won first place in the Food, Pharma and Biotech Section for her poster, entitled “Determining the Effect of Spacing in Protection of Staphylococcus aureus by Pseudomonas Aeruginosa.”

Ethan Butler (advisor: Jeffrey McCutcheon) received second place in the Separations Section for his poster, entitled “Forward Osmosis for Refugee Camps and Disaster Relief Scenarios.”

Andrea Kadilak (advisor: Leslie Shor) took second place in the graduate student poster competition/Environmental Section for her poster entitled, “Pore Scale Effects of Soil Structure and Microbial Hydrogels on Soil Water Retention.”

Anthony V. La (advisor: Yu Lei) and Breanne Muratori (advisor: Jeffrey McCutcheon) shared third place honors in the Materials Section. Anthony’s poster was entitled “Fluorescent nanofibrous membrane for ultra-sensitive detection of explosives.” Breanne’s poster was entitled “Activated Carbon Nanofiber Nonwovens for Microbial Fuel Cells.”


Members of the Steel Bridge Club attended SteelDay 2011 on September 23, 2011. This year’s event in Wallingford, CT, was hosted by Infra-Metals Co. SteelDay is an annual event sponsored by the American Institute of Steel Construction. Members of UConn’s Steel Bridge Club attending the event were Jillian Condiracci, Kira Todaro, Jason Ellis, Vincent Montemurro and Matt Tremblay.

Infra-Metals, notes Matt, is among the club’s most dedicated donor/supporters, and the students found the event to be a very worthwhile experience. During their plant tour, they viewed an array of processes that go into the steel process, including a cambering machine, plasma cutter, T-splitting machine, and a saw cutting machine.  The students brought with them the model bridge they designed last year and constructed it for their hosts, to demonstrate the results of Infra-Metals’ donations and support. View photos here.


On Saturday, September 14, 33 runners finished the 2011 UConn Engineers Without Borders 5k Run.  The run was organized to benefit the EWB projects in Nicaragua and Ethiopia, and was funded with a $500 donation from Gerber Scientific.  Prizes were donated by Subway and the UConn Co-op.  Results for the run can be found here.  More information about EWB can be found here and donations can be made here. View photos here.


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